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It’s the beginning of the school year and parents are children are preparing for the new school year ahead. Making the move throughout the school year groups can be a change that needs to be navigated. Especially as your child moves from Key Stage 1 (Year 2) into Key Stage 2 (Year 3), as they are not only moving up a year group they are also changing the Key Stage curriculum that they are working to.
Whilst the first-day jitters that the children experienced and read about in the popular Sarah Jane Hartwell picture book may have eased as they became accustomed to the classroom community, lesson plan and school day – it doesn’t mean that the transition to Key Stage 2 will be straightforward. As you navigate the first week of school I have a list of back to school books that you may want to consider for your Year 3 (Key Stage 2) child to peak your child’s interest in both fiction and non-fiction books.
Key Stage 1 vs Key Stage 2: What’s the difference?
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 refer to the two primary stages of education in the United Kingdom. Each Key Stage has specific learning objectives and age-appropriate curriculum requirements to ensure children progress academically and socially throughout their primary education.
- Key Stage 1, also known as KS1, is for children aged 5 to 7 years old. It covers the first two years of primary school education (Year 1 and Year 2). During Key Stage 1, children focus on developing basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as learning about various subjects, such as science, history, and geography, in a more general sense. They also engage in creative activities and physical education.
- Key Stage 2, or KS2, is for children aged 7 to 11 years old. It covers the last four years of primary school education (Year 3 to Year 6). In Key Stage 2, the focus shifts towards building on the foundation of knowledge and skills acquired in Key Stage 1. Children explore subjects in more depth, develop their critical thinking, and improve their writing, reading, and math abilities. Key Stage 2 also prepares children for the transition to secondary education.
What will my child be learning about in Year 3 (Key Stage 2 curriculum)?
Key Stage 2 curriculum in the United Kingdom covers a wide range of subjects and topics. Here are some examples of subjects and topics that may be covered in Key Stage 2:
- English Language and Literacy: Reading and analysing different genres of literature, improving writing skills, understanding grammar and punctuation rules, and developing comprehension skills.
- Mathematics: Learning and applying advanced mathematical concepts, solving mathematical problems, understanding fractions, decimals, and percentages, and learning about algebra, geometry, and statistics.
- Science: Exploring the scientific method, conducting experiments, learning about forces, electricity, light, sound, living things, the Earth and space.
- History: Studying different periods in history, learning about significant events, and exploring historical figures and civilisations.
- Geography: Understanding geographical features, learning about maps, exploring different regions of the world, and studying climate and weather patterns.
- Art and Design: Engaging in creative activities, learning about different art techniques, and studying famous artists.
- Music: Exploring different musical instruments, learning to play basic tunes, understanding music theory and notation.
- Physical Education (PE): Participating in sports and physical activities, developing coordination, learning about the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
These are just a few examples, and there are many more subjects and topics that may be covered in Key Stage 2. The curriculum is designed to provide a well-rounded education and prepare children for their transition to secondary school.
Popular back-to-school books for Year 3 (Key Stage 2) children
Young readers will now start to gain confidence in their reading ability, moving away from picture books and making way for chapter books. Introducing favorite characters, a cute story and read-aloud books. Allowing them to make a connection to the main character, the wonderful story and the perfect way to get them to want to reach for a book across the weeks of school rather than when they are told it is reading time.
- “The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani – This series is the perfect gift for any fantasy fiction fan aged 8+. The series tells of two best friends and misfits, Sophie and Agatha, who come to realise how both good and evil reside in everyone, but it’s the path that we choose that determines our true identity. Every four years, on the eleventh night of the eleventh month, two children aged 12 and above are stolen from the village of Gavaldon and forced to attend the School for Good and Evil. With her beautiful looks and steadfast determination, Sophie dreams of living out her Happily Ever After as a princess with her prince charming. On the other hand, with her sulky attitude and bug-eyed looks, Agatha is deemed by the village to be the perfect candidate for the School of Evil.
- “Baby Aliens Got My Teacher” by Pamela Butchart – One day Izzy and her friends are surprised to find that their teacher, Miss Jones, is actually being nice to them. This is the woman who was caught secretly smiling when Maisie Miller fell off her chair. There can only be one conclusion: she’s been taken over by aliens, and now she wants to make them all aliens too! Another brilliantly funny book for the newly confident reader from the best-selling, award-winning, author-illustrator team, Pamela Butchart and Thomas Flintham.
- “The Worst Witch” by Jill Murphy – The Worst Witch is a classic children’s book series that has captured the hearts of readers for generations. Written by British author Jill Murphy, the series follows the adventures of a young girl, Mildred Hubble, a young witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches.
- “Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes” by Roald Dahl – This collection of hilarious and twisted fairy tale poems is sure to captivate Year 3 children with its clever rhymes and playful twists on well-known stories. Roald Dahl’s irreverent and hilarious collection, Revolting Rhymes. This book is filled with revolting rhymes. (Be warned: It’s no ordinary Once upon a time). There’s poor Cindy whose heart was torn to shreds, because her Prince, he chops off heads! Snow White’s dwarfs although awfully nice, are guilty of one shocking vice . . . And what becomes of Goldilocks, that nasty thieving little louse, when she goes sneaking around the three bears’ house
- “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” by Jeff Kinney – Join Greg Heffley as he faces the challenges and humorous mishaps of summer vacation and the start of a new school year in the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. The way I like to spend my summer holidays is in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the light turned off. Unfortunately, Mom’s idea of the perfect summer holiday is different from mine. Greg’s mom has a vision of “family togetherness” that really doesn’t sound a whole lot of fun. But there’s a brand-new addition to the Heffley family to contend with and it looks like Greg might be outnumbered. It could be a real dog of a summer …
These are just a few suggestions, and there are plenty more great books to choose from. Enjoy reading!
Year 3 level literacy aims to introduce your child to a wide range of genres and writing styles for them to read and perform out loud. They will start to think about inference and begin to make predictions about what will happen in a story as they read. When looking at Key Stage Two reading books, young children will be able to start reading independently as well as participate in school read alouds with a teacher or an adult to help them understand the text and start to read with a purpose.
Children will be able to explain what they have read in their own words, which is a great practice to help them gain confidence and boost their comprehension skills when reading. Our selection features some of the best children’s books that not only help to develop these essential reading skills but also kick-start their imaginations in a fun and engaging way to help little learners.
Math-focused back-to-school books
Often we focus on fiction books for children and whilst this can encourage them to read more, adding in some non-fiction math-focused books and fun activities can help with a growth mindset for the school year ahead.
- “You Are Awesome Workbooks Times Tables & Maths Made Easy” by Matthew Syed – Help children to find their confidence in Times Tables with these AWESOME curriculum-linked workbooks that will encourage practice, and build self-esteem and a positive growth mindset. From the author of the children’s number 1 bestseller You Are Awesome – and supported by education specialists – this workbook reinforces Matthew’s positive message about finding the confidence to try, not being afraid of failure, and the awesome power of practice.
- “Math Curse” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith – This humorous book follows a child who wakes up to discover they have been cursed by math. As they experience everyday situations, they discover math concepts in everything around them.
- “The Math Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained” by DK – This engaging reference book explores 250 milestones in the history of mathematics, explaining key concepts in an accessible way. It covers a wide range of topics, making it suitable for various ages.
- “Sir Cumference and the First Round Table” by Cindy Neuschwander – In this cleverly crafted story, Sir Cumference must solve math-related problems to help King Arthur build a round table. It introduces concepts such as circumference and angles in an engaging manner.
- “Math for All Seasons” by Greg Tang – This great book combines math and poetry to challenge children to think creatively while practicing different math skills. The rhymes and visual representations make it an interactive and enjoyable read.
- “A Gebra Named Al” by Wendy Isdell – Join Al the variable as he embarks on a mathematical adventure, exploring the world of algebra. This book introduces algebraic concepts in a fun and relatable way.
Remember, these books are just a few examples, and there are many more math-focused books available. Enjoy exploring the world of math with these engaging reads!